|United Baptist-Presbyterian Church||
Greetings Sisters & Brothers:
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything
— or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.
James 3:5 MESSAGE
It's still on my shelf…the book, that is! It's not much to look at, just a worn copy of a paperback book from 1976 entitled "Your Church can Grow" by C. Peter Wagner. The book itself is of little value, as we value things, but as I look back it played a major role in the person that I am today. The year was 1985; I was managing a hardware store working 48 hours a week and helping to raise our three beautiful children. Yet deep inside my soul I sensed a voice saying "I want to transform your life!"
It was the middle of summer 1985 in Cleveland, Tennessee as Diane and I and the kids were taking a short vacation at the house of Diane's sister. We had some time to rest and relax in the beautiful sun with no expectations of work or responsibility. It was around noon, while I was on a chaise lounge basking in the sun that my brother-in-law, Roger, was just heading out to work. As he walked by he handed me the book and said, "You might find this book interesting." Now I was not a big “reader,” but I opened the book and reluctantly began. I found that I could not put the book down as it kept fueling an interest that I had never known before. I credit this little book as being the spark that God used to set me off on a journey of transformation in my life as His disciple.
My whole life I had never really cared to learn or to read, but just to survive and pay the bills. But after finishing that book, the passion within me to learn, and learn for God, was like something marvelous in my sight. It wasn't too long that I was attending the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary one day each week to earn a diploma in theology. I ended up attending school for seven years before graduating. While all the time working a full-time job, reading and writing at a pace I could never have imagined as well as raising a family.
New fires were sparked as the years went by, some were extinguished, some went out altogether and others kept growing into that "forest fire!" God really does use people, situations, and even old books to transform us if we are willing to do the hard work as His partner. Today my passion to read and learn everything I can about God and His creation is still blazing along. But those fires exist in other areas as well. I find that I have an unbelievable passion for people, a joy for teaching God's word, and a goal to love everyone as Jesus has called me.
Today embrace transformation as never before! If that little voice is speaking to you let me know and we'll stoke that fire together! You can make a difference in this world!